To examine the public’s support of representative democracy over nondemocratic alternatives, we constructed a commitment to representative democracy index. (The index does not include the question about direct democracy.) Respondents are classified as “committed democrats” if they support a system in which elected representatives govern but do not support rule by experts, a strong leader or the military (i.e., nondemocratic governments). Respondents who say a representative democracy is good but also support at least one nondemocratic form of government are classified as “less-committed democrats.” And those who do not support representative democracy and instead support at least one nondemocratic form of government are classified as “non-democrats.”Unlike the relationship between wealth and religiosity, the relationship between wealth and support for democracy is linear, with the US close to the line.
Roughly a quarter of people (median of 23%) across the 38 countries surveyed are committed democrats. About twice as many (median of 47%) are less-committed democrats. Relatively few (13%) are nondemocratic. A small share (8%) does not endorse any of these forms of governance.
Commitment to representative democracy is strongest in North America and Europe. A median of 37% across the 10 European Union nations polled, as well as 40% in the United States and 44% in Canada, support democracy while rejecting nondemocratic forms of government. Australia is the only country outside of North America and Europe where at least four-in-ten are categorized as committed democrats.
Sweden (52%) shows the strongest level of commitment of all countries surveyed, with roughly half holding this view. By contrast, Russia (7%) has the lowest percentage of committed democrats.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Support for Democracy